Tag Archives: gender

Arms and gender wars

Having written on gender once or twice I was interested to hear, on a Guardian Science Weekly Podcast about a some experiments intended to put some gender stereotypes to the test. Some of the tests were to be used at an event last night entitled War of the Sexes at the Science Museum’s DANA Centre.

In the podcast, Professor Geoff Sanders describes tests designed to measure tracking ability – basically using a joystick to track a moving dot on a computer screen. In one version, a short joystick was controlled by the hand and wrist alone. In another, a longer joystick needed to be controlled by the shoulder and arm. It seems that women tend to be better at the former and men at the latter. Professor Saunders posits an evolutionary reason for this. One would think then that there would be, for example, more male cellists and trombonists and more female trumpeters and woodwind players. I wonder how to go about collecting the statistics on that…..

Had I not lived so far from the venue, I’d have been interested in attending an event like this. As it was, I was at a parents evening where the stats were:

Girls 45%    Boys 55%

Mums 50%    Dads 50%

Speaking of statistics, would it be stretching the spirit of the law to suggest that unnecessarily vague language constitutes a breach of the Freedom of Information Act? As a parent, which would you rather see?

Attendance – generally good


Attendance – 14/16 (missed 26 Nov & 13 Jan)


It’s official – I’m a big Jessie

I break off from the traditional summer silence to flag up some interesting tests related to Simon Baron Cohen‘s* recent book, The Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain.

There are four tests:

The first three take the form of choosing how much you agree with a given statement: definitely agree; slightly agree; slightly disagree & definitely disagree. The 4th test involves looking at a pair of eyes, through the letter-box, as it were and then choosing which of four given emotions is being expressed.

In all four tests my score fell into the category where “most women score.” This did not surprise me and I imagine that most people employed in the people industries would score similarly. Why not try them? The overall results (with colour coded gender divide) for over 150,000 participants so far can be seen here (slow link – patience required).

I first came across this topic in an article in New Scientist which suggested that reading fiction might develop social skills.

* cousin of Sacha Baron Cohen aka Ali G and Borat